Saturday, tornadoes ripped through our state and our city.
This is a picture of a house just around the corner from mine. It is one of many nearby with trees through the roof, shingles and siding missing, carports and chimneys blown away, decks and porches crushed. Misty Creek Farm in Sanford, about an hour from here, lost 12 of their 40 horses, not to mention barns and outbuildings. The Thomas family farm in Lee County, a "thriving soybean, tobacco and cattle farm" lost everything needed to farm, plus their home. The Dept of Agriculture estimates 80,000 chickens died and other livestock as well. Someone reported seeing a pig spinning in the air. I just can't imagine.
I sometimes wonder why God is so good to us here at Uddermost Farm. It's not based on our merit; we are just sinners saved by grace. When we bought this property, we dedicated it to the LORD and gave it back to Him to use as He wishes. As we have added each animal and plant, we have reminded ourselves that it all belongs to Him. Maybe that's why the tornado blew past us ... a close 400 yards away ... and left us totally intact. Not even a branch fell in the yard while our neighbors suffered devastating damage to their homes and property. Four children died less than a mile away. We were without power for less than 24 hours, a trivial inconvenience compared to what others have suffered.
Within hours after the storm, we checked on our tenants and the rental properties we manage. Again, we came through unscathed. But not unaffected. The images that replay in my mind are of people walking around in a daze, surveying the damage with mouths agape. I was struck with how random the devastation was ... one house in shambles with the next door neighbor's house intact. It was like driving through a war zone ... with the smell of pine.
My heart and prayers go out to those who are picking up the pieces and rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. My praise and thanksgiving go out to the LORD, with whom nothing is random. Easter is the perfect time to be reminded that He has a plan and it is good. The death of Jesus on the cross is the ultimate example of how God turns something horrible into victory. Without experiencing death, Jesus could not have overcome the grave and been the Resurrection Firstfruit for us, giving us eternal life. It took the disciples months to understand this truth. It may take us years to understand why bad things happen, if we gain understanding at all this side of heaven. But what we can know for sure ... Peace that passes all understanding is ours in Christ Jesus. As the song urges us, When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart.